With more than 500 different energy drinks on the market and the rising number of people consuming them, it worths taking a closer look at their effects on our health. A lot of people believe that energy drinks are equivalent to coffee but it’s a myth. A recent study shows that power drinks are way more dangerous for our health. Energy drinks are potentially harmful, and it’s not the caffeine.
Drinking 32 ounces of energy drink has been linked to possible harmful changes in blood pressure and heart function that are beyond those seen with caffeine alone. Caffeine in doses up to 400mg is considered safe by the FDA. It’s equivalent to approximately five cups of coffee. The problem is that energy drinks don’t contain only caffeine.
Most energy drinks contain 320mg of caffeine, about 4 ounces of sugar, some B vitamins and a proprietary “energy blend”.
The study compared the physical changes in 18 healthy participants, first after consuming a commercial energy drink, then after having only the same amount of caffeine. Researchers measured the participants’ blood pressure and heart electrical activity for 24 hours after the subjects consumed the drinks.
After consuming the energy drink, the participants showed irregularities in their heartbeat, a condition which can be life-threatening in some cases — arrhythmia, and a blood pressure increased by close to 5 points. After drinking caffeine only, the electrocardiograms were normal and the blood pressure was up 1 point.
Researchers have warned that anyone who suffers from high blood pressure or cardiac conditions should avoid the drinks until further investigations are conducted.
“The energy drink industry claims that their products are safe because they have no more caffeine than a premium coffee house coffee,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Harris, who wasn’t involved in the study. “On top of that, energy drinks are highly marketed to adolescent boys in ways that encourage risky behavior, including rapid and excessive consumption.”